I am a single 50 year old mother of two. Born in Edinburgh but lived from the age of 11 in England. I moved back to Scotland 11 years ago so that I could raise my children in Scotland. I believe that Scotland’s education and national health service is still superior to the English system. I live in South Queensferry, I am currently a full time carer to my daughter and also study from home in environmental sciences.
It seems so long ago now that I agreed to become a member but I do remember feel both honoured and apprehensive to be asked. I had no serious interest in politics, this was because it confused me and much of what was decided by both UK government and Scottish government felt above me. I had however followed the Irish assembly and so how the regular everyday people of Ireland were able to make changes and be listened and as a result laws were changed inspired me not to be afraid of the assembly. I felt it was important for the people of Scotland to have an input on decisions made.
What were the most memorable moments? Wow, this a question with an answer that could go on for a long time if I was being vocal, however I am not great at writing my thoughts but I will do my best. The first day the assembly came together is something I will never forget, so many people from so many different backgrounds, family, jobs, education, diversity, life skills. They all however had one thing in common, making Scotland a better place to live. The first assembly evolved and the results told me that we all already appreciated the country we live in, the beauty, the food etc. It was great leaving the weekend knowing that we all had similar goals. Also the people in charge were approachable and warm and friendly. I was surprised as often people in charge can be intimidating. I remember going on the bus to the castle which was a wonderful experience however the memory that stands out for me was sitting on the coach and having a conversation with Ian [Davidson, secretary to the Assembly]. He was warm, friendly and funny. I didn’t feel any divide between the members and the managers of the assembly. I loved the way that everybody, managers and members sat chatting together at meals times.
What have I learned? Another impossible question. I have found that I have an opinion that counts. We have listened to speakers that have explained so many things together. I have learned, most importantly that the people of Scotland do want equality, fairness, kindness and opportunities for all. I have learnt that the politicians speakers are all passionate about what they believe in. I have learnt that no matter who you are or where you come you, being part of this assembly means you can be vocal.
I live in a wonderful country that is doing a reasonable job of taking care of its people. However we all need to do better. I would like to see equal opportunities for all. I would like to see the divide between extreme wealth and poverty made smaller. Taxation changes will hopefully improve this. I would like to see more affordable housing, improved national health service but supporting the national health workers as well as their users. Climate change and the importance of using and investing in our natural resources is very high in my list also for change.